In this genre-bending, speculative historical novel set in Europe at the height of the Age of Enlightenment, Austrian composer and spy, Phillipe Wolf, sets off an incendiary clash between Isaac Newton and Antonio Stradivari over how to create a perfect violin. Can science and mathematics alone be enough? Or is it a much deeper knowledge that Stradivari will take to his grave? In love with Newton's niece, Catherine Barton, Wolf and Barton compose a perfect score for a perfect violin, while Wolf spies on her jealous employer, infiltrates a violent counterfeiting ring, and leads a surprise attack inside the enemy's fortified citadel. On every page there is surprise, insight, and suspense, and in the end, perhaps, solves the enduring mystery of why 300-year-old Stradivarius violins remain the most revered.
With several Newtonesque drawings by the author
From Antonio & Isaac
Mr. Stradivari answered, "As I showed you in the mountain valley, I've been watching and listening to the trees since I first started making violins. I had to see for myself where they grew, how they grew, and how to select the best ones. No, not the best, the only ones that could become instruments. I could show you how to listen to them." He paused and looked off into the distance, as if he could hear them now.
Dr. Newton picked up the cross-sectioned violin, then stared into the cavity for a moment. "You're proposing a determined reason for the asymmetry? It isn't just the imperfections of the craftsman?"
I had to choose an answer, so I said, "Yes. It must be."
"And if so?
And if so ...?
Dr. Newton must have reached the limit of his patience, for he pounced on his own question. "If so, then the most superior craftsman knows this is the case and can precisely calculate, calculate
, with precision the exact asymmetrical parameters required."
We rode in silence for a while longer before Catherine said, "Tell me the truth, Captain Wolf. Did you kill this man you were fighting?"
I let out a long breath. "Yes, unfortunately I had to or we would have been discovered." I paused before adding, "I have to tell you that at that moment I recalled your powerful words about the arc of life, about when we return to nothingness ..."
I could say no more as her lips covered my mouth and she arched her body toward mine.
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